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Instructor Class Description

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Sooenn Park
POL S 308
Seattle Campus

The Western Tradition of Political Thought, Ancient and Medieval

Origin and evolution of major political concepts from ancient Greece to the medieval period, from Thales through Aquinas.

Class description

The primary focus of the course will be on Plato's dialogues. We will read the Republic, the Lysis, the Symposium, and the Phaedrus, to tease out from these dialogues a specifically Platonic framework for political and ethical inquiries. We will study Plato with two primary learning goals. The first is to understand the way Plato navigates the question of justice in relation to the question of friendship, on the one hand, and political liberty, on the other. The second is to reflect whether and how the ancient Athenian's moral and political inquiries can inform our own moral and political understanding and judgment today. Besides Plato's own dialogues, we will read Thucydides' History of the Poleponnesian War to acquaint ourselves with the political climate of the Athenian democracy, its imperial rise and decline; and Aristotle's Politics to see an example of contemporary influence and reception of Plato's thoughts.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Three 5-6 page essays.

Participation 10% First paper 30 % Second paper 30% Final paper 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sooenn Park
Date: 03/29/2013